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A Brief Refutation of the False Principle of al-Muwāzanah

Shaykh ʿAbdullāh al-Ẓufayrī

What is al-Muwāzanah (counterbalancing) in relation to praise and criticism of an individual? Is it from justice to mention the good points of an innovator when critiquing him? Some brief points on an oft-misunderstood issue which opens up the doors to misguidance. 

If it were that the Messenger (ﷺ) renounced [himself] from those who deceive the Muslims in transactions, then what about the one who deceives in the affair of Dīn?

Shaykh ʿAbdullāh ibn Ṣulfīq al-Ẓufayrī, Sall al-Suyuf wa-al-Sunnah, pg. 118

A Brief Refutation of the False Principle of al-Muwāzanah [1][2]

Shaykh ʿAbdullāh ibn Ṣulfīq al-Ẓufayrī (حفظه الله) said [3]:

This principle: mentioning the good and the evil [counterbalancing], is unacceptable from several angles:

Firstly: Taking account of and individual’s actions, investigation into his evil and good deeds, is for Allāh on the Day of Judgement, and He does not oppress the people at all. He said:

وَنَضَعُ الْمَوَازِينَ الْقِسْطَ لِيَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ فَلَا تُظْلَمُ نَفْسٌ شَيْئًا ۖ وَإِن كَانَ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِّنْ خَرْدَلٍ أَتَيْنَا بِهَا ۗ وَكَفَى بِنَا حَاسِبِينَ

‘And We shall set up balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We as Reckoners.’
[Sūrah al-Anbiyāʾ, 21:47]

As for us slaves, then indeed we worship Allāh by refuting falsehood, desires, innovations and warning from them and their people.

Secondly: This principle and what is meant by it contradicts what the Prophet (ﷺ) established and what the Salaf of the Ummah traversed upon, as was previously mentioned.
Thirdly: This principle, in it [lies] deception of the common folk and the scholars. [Likewise, in it lies] the betrayal of Allāh and his Messenger. And Allāh said:

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَخُونُوا اللَّـهَ وَالرَّسُولَ وَتَخُونُوا أَمَانَاتِكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

‘O you who believe! Betray not Allāh and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly your Amānah [things entrusted to you, and all the duties which Allāh has ordained for you].’
[Sūrah al-Anfāl, 8:27]

[Also] the Messenger (ﷺ) said: ‘He who deceives is not of me [i.e. is not my follower].'[4] Therefore, if it were that the Messenger (ﷺ) renounced [himself] from those who deceive the Muslims in transactions, then what about the one who deceives in the affair of Dīn?

Endnotes:

[1] Mentioning both the good and bad actions of an individual, sect or group during refutation.
[2] See also: al-Muwāzināt: Counterbalancing the Good and Bad Points When Criticising by Abū al-Ḥasan Mālik Ādam al-Akhdar.
[3] Sall al-Suyuf wa-al-Sunnah pg. 118.
[4] Reported by Muslim.

Translator: Abū Wāʾil Musa Shaleem

Published: March 1, 2016
Edited: October 3, 2023

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